There’s still hope for Alabama to pass legislation to allow voters to weigh in on gambling expansion, including popular online/mobile sportsbooks that are live in many other states.
According to ALReporter.com, a special session could be held to pass the legislation that failed in the final days of the regular session earlier this month. Citing sources, the report said that there are enough votes in the House and Senate to deliver the package to Gov. Kay Ivey. The votes would need to be more or less in place in order for Ivey to call for a special session to address gambling.
Ivey is all in on the gambling proposal, which actually has bipartisan support in the deeply conservative state. A lucrative state lottery would also be established under the package. It has some very vocal detractors, most notably Donald Trump Jr., the son of the former president who raised eyebrows by opposing it as the legislative clock approached midnight, on grounds that the package won’t be good for unspecified casino industry giants. The legislation would name the locations where Las Vegas-style casinos could be built, provisions that Trump Jr. claims aren’t good for Alabamans.
The package cleared the Senate in mid-April, so the bipartisan support has already been established.
The Alabama Senate has approved a proposed constitutional amendment to allow a lottery, six casinos, and sports betting in Alabama. The vote was 23-9. The bill goes to the House.
— Mike Cason (@MikeCasonAL) April 14, 2021
Special session dates unknown
Alabama Daily News reported Thursday that Senate General Fund budget committee chairman Sen. Greg Albritton said dates for a special session haven’t yet been discussed. There are other potential special session topics, including the distribution of billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief funds, which reportedly would be a priority over gambling, though the gambling package is of huge importance to Ivey.
Ivey urged passage ahead of the House vote that never materialized earlier this month.
“Albritton said he thinks two specials this year would be appropriate, each featuring two of four topics: the federal funds allocations, a potential prison bond issue, gambling, and the required redrawing of legislative and congressional districts with the new census data,” the report said.
However, House General Fund Chairman Steve Clouse told the media outlet that tackling all of those issues would be too much in terms of time available. Ivey may have to pick between prisons and gambling, according to the report. She hasn’t yet indicated what she will do.
It could be weeks and months before a special session begins.
If the package crosses the finish line, Alabamans would vote on gambling in November 2022.